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About Pleached Trees
| Pleached trees is the name given to trees which have a very straight clear stem and then a narrow framework of branches trained onto canes. This formal method of training produces beautiful trees which are somewhat rare (certainly beyond the skill level of most nurseries) and much favoured by the top garden designers for adding height to a garden, dividing into garden rooms, or for screening. Our range of trained trees includes forms such as pleached and pleached espalier - we also supply roof form and box head trees. You can read more about each species, and the forms they are available in, along with useful maintenance information on this page. Use the links in the page contents table on the right, or the species links below, to help you navigate the information. We have a fantastic range of traditional pleached Hornbeam, Lime, Beech and Maple as well as some more unusual varieties, including Crab Apple, Parrotia and Pyrus. We also supply a popular range of evergreen pleached trees including Cherry Laurel, Photinia and Evergreen Oak / Holly Oak. We try to keep in stock both younger trees which are lower cost (called fresh pleached trees) and more mature specimens for maximum instant impact. We can also supply photographs of the actual stock you would receive. Please note that the girth measurement is the approx. circumference of the trunk, measured 1m up from the soil level.||  Page Contents|
- Species by popularity
- Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
- Lime (Tilia europaea Pallida)
- Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
- Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus 'Novita')
- Evergreen Oak / Holly Oak (Quercus ilex)
- Photinia (Photinia 'Red Robin')
- London plane (Platanus acerifolia)
- Maple (Acer campestre Elsrijk)
- Crab Apple (Malus Evereste)
- Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)
- Weeping Ornamental Pear (Pyrus salicifolia Pendula)
- Ornamental Pear (Pyrus Chanticleer)
- Pleached Espalier
- Planting distance
- Pruning and maintenance
- How to train pleached trees
- The history of pleaching trees
Our Most Popular Pleached Trees
Evergreen Pleached Trees
All Pleached Trees"We supply over 500 pleached trees to trade and residential customers each year, many of the orders we receive are for quantities of 5 - 10 however we've also provided much larger quantities for exceptionally prestigious projects. It's real testament to our quality, service and pricing that we continue to be one of the biggest suppliers of pleached trees in the UK."Jamie Shipley - Sales Director
Pleached TreesThe term 'pleached' refers to trees that are trained to form a screen of branches and foliage a single straight stem. The single stem of our pleached trees are between 2 and 2.2m tall. Planted in rows at set distances, they will form an elevated 'green wall' that can be ideal as an alternative to high fencing. Pleached trees are often used to screen unsightly buildings and can be grown above an existing wall or fence. Used in this way pleached trees can extend the height of a privacy screen to 3 metres or more.
Pleached Espalier Trees Similarly to pleached trees, pleached espaliers are produced on a clear stem or 'leg' of around 2 metres above ground level. The significant difference between the two is the way in which espaliers are trained into tiers or levels, producing a more uniform aesthetic.
Ordering You can of course order your trees right here on our website. Below we show a variety of specifications but other sizes are available - please call us to enquire about sizes 01257 263873. We're lucky to have a number of our team who are particularly experienced in quoting for pleached trees, so if you're looking for advice or the very best price, please speak to Jamie Shipley or Katy Hill for expert advice on 01257 263873 or request a call back using this email address firstname.lastname@example.org - simply make your phone number the subject line and ask us to call you back, you'll hear from us within 15 minutes (during opening hours)
|Pleached Hornbeam TreesWith deeply veined, dark green foliage which turns brown in the winter and clings on to the branches, Hornbeam is great for difficult positions and poor soil.|
|Pleached Lime TreesLarge green foliage with a yellow-green underside, turning clear yellow in the autumn and boasting sweetly scented summer flowers, the Common Lime makes an attractive trained tree.|
|Pleached Beech TreesFluttery green foliage which turns coppery brown in the winter and clings to branches, making for year round interest.|
|Pleached Cherry Laurel Bright dense foliage makes evergreen pleached Cherry Laurel an excellent screening solution and attractive feature in any landscape.|
|Pleached Evergreen OakAlso known as Holly Oak, Quercus ilex (Evergreen oak) is an attractive and low maintenance species perfect for an eye -catching evergreen pleached tree with year round cover |
|Pleached Photinia Red RobinPopular for its new red foliage which turns to a dark green in late summer. Perfect for screening purposes these evergreen pleached trees offer year round cover. |
|Pleached Platanus TreesAttractive grey-green, decorative bark, large dark green lobed foliage and small flowers make this a popular specimen for screening and training purposes.|
|Pleached Maple TreesThe dense foliage of Acer campestre Elsrijk makes for a wonderful deciduous pleached tree, with the rich green leaves turning buttery yellow and red in autumn.|
|Pleached Crab Apple TreesA marvellously ornamental species with showy white flowers in spring, opening from pink buds, followed by large orange fruits in autumn. Malus Evereste makes for a stunning pleached tree with added seasonal interest.|
|Pleached Parrotia TreesParrotia persica boasts stunning foliage colour changing from yellow, to orange and then scarlet red in autumn. Perfectly suited to pleaching, the Persian Ironwood also provides unusual, spider like flowers, often likened to witch hazel.|
|Pleached Ornamental Pear TreesAnother great flowering pear tree that is well suited to pleaching. Pyrus Chanticleer is drenched in white flowers in spring whilst the green foliage turns shades of rich purple in autumn.|
Pleached trees and espaliers
How to Train Pleached Trees and espaliers
|Pleached trees - It is possible to pleach your own trees by selecting straight tall bare root trees at either 8-10cm girth or ideally 10-12cm girth (or root balls but we favour bare roots).Pleached trees are trained by creating a framework of bamboo in the ‘head’ of the tree, that is the branches above the trimmed, straight trunk which can be any height but most often is approximately 2 metres above ground level. The frame is securely fastened to the trunk and to the central stem (leader) of the head and then the side branches, or laterals, are carefully bent downwards and tied into the horizontal bamboo framework. This can only be done with very young branches as thicker and more mature wood will resist the bending process and may break under pressure. There is no set distance between the laterals, they are tied in where they fit best, as long as they are not crossing each other, and smaller shoots or sub-laterals can be tied in at any angle or position as long as the overall planar shape of the tree is maintained. Traditionally the height of the frame is between 1.5 and 2 metres, which can give an overall tree height of up to 4 metres. The width of a frame on a young tree in the nursery will also be in the region of 2 metres, but as the tree grows this can be increased with training to give an overall width of 3 to 5 metres. This mature size should be taken into consideration when deciding on the planting distances between the pleached trees.|
|Pleached espaliers - Espalier training is normally carried out on apple, pear and other fruit trees that produce flowering/fruiting buds on short spurs on mature wood. What distinguishes it from pleaching is the formalised, regular spacing between the horizontal branches, called tiers. The spacing between tiers is around 20cm; traditionally this allows for maturing fruit to get air and sunlight, reducing the potential for disease and improving the sweetness of the fruit. Espaliers can have any number of tiers, each one above the other, with a new tier trained in each growing season until the required height is reached. Espaliers are subjected to a more severe pruning regime than pleached trees and therefore do not make a totally impenetrable green screen, but have the advantage of bearing very attractive flowers and fruit.|
Pruning and Maintenance of Pleached Trees and Espaliers To prune and maintain pleached trees it helps to think of it as a two stage process. Firstly, the pruning required to train and tie in the newly forming tree, called formative pruning. Secondly the pruning required to maintain the shape and form of the more mature pleached tree, known as pruning for shape.
In formative pruning, (which is only relevant to establishing a new pleached tree if starting from scratch) as young laterals are bent downward and tied in to the bamboo framework any excess laterals and stronger sub-laterals that are not growing in the plane of the tree should be pruned back to within a few centimetres of the stem. At the same time branches that are growing above the required overall height should be cut back to below the top of the frame.
Any branches that are crossing each other should be removed at an early stage. Crossed branches can rub on each other, and as they subsequently dont heal, cause wounds that can lead to disease entering the tree.
Tie in with soft twine or plastic tubular ties to avoid cutting into the tree. Older ties should be checked regularly and replaced if they are too tight, as they can cut into the tree as the branches thicken.
Tying in and formative pruning should be done several times during the growing season, with a final prune in October.
When pruning to maintain the shape of a pleached tree it is important to first remove any diseased or damaged wood and also any broken branches. It is then a relatively simple matter of pruning the tree to maintain the shape.
This should be done once or twice a year, late winter being a good time to assess winter damage and trim the tree before the spring growth obscures the framework of branches.
Once you have an established and mature tree it should be possible to cut away the old bamboo framework, to show your pleached trees at their best. Many of our mature pleached trees are at this stage in their development.
Espaliers require a more formal approach to pruning, the tiers are trained at regular spacings and each winter all upward growing laterals are cut back to around 5cm, to a bud, to form spurs that will bear blossom and fruit the following year. Each tier can be extended until the desired final width of the tree is reached.
Which trees are best for pleaching and espaliering?Traditionally, lime, beech and hornbeam trees have been used for pleaching, and they are still the most commonly used.
Horticulturalists are always trying out new possibilities, and you will find Maple, Plane and Parrotia trees on our website, trained in this way as well.
Those tree species that lend themselves to this method of training must have a relatively short distance between the buds, to give the density of branches required. They must also have good disease resistance, as they are pruned regularly, leaving wounds which have the potential for infection until healed.
For this reason Horse Chestnut, Birch and Cherry trees would be very unsuitable candidates.
The most suitable species for growing pleached espaliers are members of the apple and pear families. Youll find Crab Apple and Ornamental Pear tree espaliers for sale on our website.
Delivery of Pleached Trees and espaliers Normally garden designs have a minimum of 5 pleached trees (4 gaps between the trees), so that’s our minimum quantity but for larger orders we can often subsidise the delivery cost (if there is one - delivery is often free!) or discount the cost of the plants.
Delivery of these special plants is always a challenge but we are very experienced having supplied pleached trees for 10 years to hundreds of gorgeous gardens (large and small, stately and suburban) across the UK. Our prices shown above INCLUDE delivery assuming we can access your property with an articulated lorry. We can deliver on a smaller vehicle if there are access issues but that involves double handling from us so we would then need to quote you for a delivery supplement which will vary by postcode and quantity of plants - in these circumstances, please call us for a quote. Whatever the delivery challenges, please speak to us and we'll overcome them! For all deliveries, there must be an appropriate amount of 'help' available at your end to assist the driver take these plants off the lorry - 2 able bodied helpers for the younger, lighter plants and at least 4 people or appropriate machinery (forklift ideally) for the more mature pleached trees or the boxhead trees. All our pleached trees are grown as root balls so the season is normally October to May.
Pleached Trees PricesPrices of pleached trees will vary. The price-tag associated with a ready trained tree is dictated by the many years of skill and care that goes in to creating such exclusive specimens. Our prices can be seen above, but wed recommend giving us a call to discuss should you need a number of plants.
Planting Pleached Trees
Distance between plantsThe planting distance of pleached trees will depend on various factors, including species and the final desired effect. The trees can be planted so that each screen is just touching for immediate effect, although it would be advisable to leave at least a few feet to allow for growth. This distance of planting will give a deep bushy screen. Depending on patience (and budget) the trees can be planted with up to 10-12 feet between the widest parts of the screens. Over time these branches will grow out to meet one-another creating a slightly more narrow screening effect.
Distance from a buildingAgain this is a variety specific query. Crab apple will for example have a lesser root spread than Platanus. Unfortunately were unable to give specific advice regarding planting distances from buildings but we do advise that you speak to your insurance provider, who will be able to advise further, if you are concerned.
Pleached Trees in HistoryThe technique originated in Medieval times when it was used to create a shaded walkway, called pleached allées, traditionally using Lime trees or Hornbeam. Sometimes called 'hedges on stilts' or 'stilt hedging' or even 'hedging in the sky' as well as pleached hedging, this technique for training trees reached its peak of popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly in France and Italy, and has in recent years been resurrected by a clutch of RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden designers.